Five minutes with … Fr Daniel Benedetti
The Catholic Voice spent five minutes with Fr Daniel Benedetti MGL, outgoing parish priest of St Benedict’s parish, Narrabundah. Fr Benedetti was about to take up an appointment to the chaplaincy of St Martin de Porres community in Darwin.
Where did you grow up?
What called you to the priesthood?
Personal experiences of God’s Love, mercy, healing and hope. Acceptance, friendship and challenge from charismatic Catholic Youth and the Missionaries of God’s Love priests and seminarians.
How long were you the parish priest at St Benedict’s?
Three short but wonderful years.
What will you miss from your time at St Benedict’s?
Lots of things! The love, friendship, care and ministry of so many beautiful people. Wonderful experiences of worship, celebration and ministry, including Sacraments, RCIA, Alpha Program and my Men Alive small group. And the wonderful staff and students of St Benedict’s Primary School.
What have you learnt from the COVID pandemic?
Faith, hope and love do not have to fade when times are dark. There are so many ways to share the faith!
You’re going to Darwin. What’s the first thing you’ll pack (or have packed) in your bags?
My Aboriginal cowboy hat and the fishing rod St Benedict’s primary school gave me.
You served in Darwin before for 10 years. What’s different this time? When do you start?
Hopefully I’m wiser, kinder, holier, more merciful and compassionate. I start February 1.
What do you see as the challenges and gifts for your new ministry?
More listening, learning, cooperation and supporting to the best of my ability those who have experienced life’s traumas, heart breaks and disadvantage. Encouraging spiritual growth for young people. Deepening my understanding and experience of Aboriginal cultures and spiritualities.
What will you do to relax when you have time out in Darwin?
Fishing! Going to AFL matches. Eating ice cream in a well air-conditioned shop. Exploring the beauty of the NT with my MGL brothers and other friends. Did I mention fishing?
Do you like crocodiles? Have you met one?
There are lots of saltwater and freshwater crocs in the NT; best to observe them from a distance or at the croc parks where you can hold a little one (with its snout tied up!) and enjoy the feel of its beautiful skin. You can eat them too (as long as they’re not your totem).
“The funeral was a number of years ago [during his first posting in Darwin] can’t remember exactly, in a remote location in the Northern Territory I prefer not to give too many details.
Br Bear was introduced to our Parish Primary School during Covid lockdown, he used to live in the Church Kids room/Crying room with another similar Bear. A friend who is a teacher suggested the idea after I’d been asked by our REC to be part of the School Covid19 morning prayer. He became a sign of our God’s loving care and comfort during these difficult times.”